What is the hortatory subjunctive?
In hearings today by the House Oversight and something committee, the witness and a congressman argued about verb tense.

She had said that sometimes she gets her tenses wrong. The congressman said there are only 3 tenses, past present and future. She said there waw present perfect, pluperect aand some others.

Then my mind wandered and she was saying somethin about the hortatory subjunctive.
The next Congressman said that his mother was an English teacher or professor, and the sentence the witness gave was not the hortatory subjunctive. He said a sentence of that sort might be "How can we help?"
I think this is a question in the present tense. Even if it refers to actions that will in fact be done in the future.
"Would that he be a help to us" sounds like the hortatory subjuntive to me, and other than the sentiment expressed, it's nothing like "How can we help?"
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What is the hortatory subjunctive?

The imperative, in its "let us ~~" form, only used in the first person. "Let me/us alone!"
It's worth forgetting, because we have near-identical constructs for second person:
"Let it be,"
being the most famous.
So it's either a construct that has been extended to include the second-person usage, or it's a construct that already encompassed the second-person usage, and some twit (probably a Cypriot) decided to ignore the second-person stuff, and lay it down as a first-person "law".

Just call it an imperative form, since that's exactly what it is; save yourself the bother.
In hearings today by the House Oversight and something committee, the witness and a congressman argued about verb tense. She had said that sometimes she gets her tenses wrong. The congressman said there are only 3 tenses, past present and future.

The congressman was wrong. English has only two tenses: Past and Present. There is no future tense, in English.
She said there waw present perfect, pluperect aand some others.

Those are verb forms. Present Perfect and pluperfect (known as the past perfect, by those who aren't pompous tosspots) are both in the Past tense.
Then my mind wandered and she was saying somethin about the hortatory subjunctive. The next Congressman said that his mother ... witness gave was not the hortatory subjunctive. He said a sentence of that sort might be "How can we help?"

Where the Hell do these people learn English? That is totally wrong. It's a simple interrogative; not even subjunctive.
I think this is a question in the present tense. Even if it refers to actions that will in fact be done in the future. "Would that he be a help to us" sounds like the hortatory subjuntive to me,

That's a plain (if inverted, UK style) Subjunctive, not hortatory
{snip}
She had said that sometimes she gets her tenses wrong. The congressman said there are only 3 tenses, past present and future.

The congressman was wrong. English has only two tenses: Past and Present. There is no future tense, in English.

If you mean that there is no distinct verb form for the future tense, I'll agree with you. We do express a future tense in English, we just do it by sticking "will" in front of the verb. I will go to work tomorrow.
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{snip}

The congressman was wrong. English has only two tenses: Past and Present. There is no future tense, in English.

If you mean that there is no distinct verb form for the future tense, I'll agree with you. We do express a future tense in English, we just do it by sticking "will" in front of the verb. I will go to work tomorrow.

That's still not a tense; a tense is a "time". We speak of the future with various nuances.
That's still not a tense; a tense is a "time". We speak of the future with various nuances.

Mark, you are wrong. Tense is not time, although sometimes they are used interchangeably. look at the following sentence:

The train leaves tomorrow night.
What is the tense? Surely that's presnet. Simple present to be precise. But how about the time? That's future, isn't it? Technically speaking, tense is a product of combining time and aspect. There are three distict times: Past, Present, and Future. And there are four aspects in English: Simple, Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous. So, how many tenses do you think English has? Right! There are twelve of them.
Regards!
Farhad
What is the hortatory subjunctive?

English has no hortatory subjunctive. Greek did (I don't know whether it's retained in Modern Greek).
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{snip} If you mean that there is no distinct verb ... front of the verb. I will go to work tomorrow.

That's still not a tense; a tense is a "time". We speak of the future with various nuances.- Hide quoted text - - Show quoted text -

Yes folks, you heard it here first. English has no future! :-o
That's still not a tense; a tense is a "time". We speak of the future with various nuances.

Mark, you are wrong. Tense is not time, although sometimes they are used interchangeably. look at the following sentence: The ... Continuous, Perfect, and Perfect Continuous. So, how many tenses do you think English has? Right! There are twelve of them.

Do you understand what "nuance" means?
Or what "a time" and "a tense" mean?
It appears not.
"The past" is a "time" so far as English verbs are concerned. There are several verb forms (among the list of verb /FORMS/ that you named) that are used to describe things that happened in that "time", that "tense" (a verb tense is not a verb form; it is a time).
Same for the present.
The way that verb forms are used in the present and past is very rigid. There are rules real rules that every native English speaker follows. It is more far rare for native speakers to use an incorrect verb form than it is for them to use an incorrect preposition, for example. The rules are that strongly coded into the way we use the language.

When we speak of the future, we use a completely different set of rules, that talk of plans, intentions, predictions, etc. The verb forms that are used to speak of potential (accent on "potential") future events do not follow the same rules as the tensed verb forms. They are all nuance; they are not tensed.
The only verb formations that are used mainly for speaking of potential future events involve the use of an auxiliary verb; all other verb forms used for speaking of potential future events are verb forms that belong to the past and present tenses they are being used with a future nuance.

There is no distinct set of verb forms that exist specifically to speak of potential future events. We do not have a future tense.

"Leaves", in "the train leaves tomorrow night" is simple present. It is not future tense; it is present tense the simple present verb form.

What it means (and this happens to be one of my favourite quirks of English) is that the train has not decided to do anything at all (it's a train; how can it decide to leave/stay/jump rope/whatever?)
The nuance given to this usage of a present tense verb form implies that someone (a person, note) has made a decision about what the train will do, and (and this is the bit I like) has written it down on a piece of paper.

This is the case whenever the simple present is given a future nuance (except when it's used in error): Someone other than the subject of the clause has (in the past) made a decision about the activities of the subject of the sentence, and has written it down on a piece of paper (or, these days, typed it into a computer).
God, I love English grammar! You don't get such universal absurdities with Physics or Maths!
... And, before you come back here with your "there are twelve tenses!" garbage, try reading a /real/ English grammar. The one you're using obviously falls far wide of the mark.
What is the hortatory subjunctive?

English has no hortatory subjunctive. Greek did (I don't know whether it's retained in Modern Greek).

Actually, Greek doesn't. That's one of the reasons why the Latin freaks tried to impose one in English.
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